Streetstyle: Virgil Abloh in Paris

Pictured above is myself, and Virgil Abloh, the founder of the Milan-based fashion label Off-White, and former personal stylist of Kanye West. The picture was taken on January 22nd, 2017, outside of a pop-up shop in Paris’ 3rd Arrondissement.

This picture is a quintessential example of street style for a number of reasons. Under Brent Luvaas’ definition of the term, street style is, broadly, a fashion photograph taken on the street, without any prior effects or conditions created by a studio such as lighting, styling, or poses. Within this general definition, Luvaas argues that street style, among other factors, has a straight up nature to it. He claims that this style “is the best way to capture the immediacy and atmosphere of what was going on in the clubs and in the streets. There was nothing precious about these photos” (Luvaas 25).  The subjects are typically photographed with blank expressions on their face, and doing little other than standing in front of the camera. In this specific picture, the elements of the straight up photograph can be seen. Abloh stands, hands in his pockets, with a blank, almost bored expression on his face. As a result, the fashion becomes much more apparent in this specific photo than of photos often seen in fashion magazines. The pose (or lack thereof) that Abloh strikes is indicative of street style pictures commonly shot by the likes of Bill Cunningham and others. The street style emphasis is furthered by the outfit that Virgil chooses to wear. With an emphasis on counter culturalism, much of Abloh’s outfit can be attributed to the basic principles of street fashion. The trench coat he dons isn’t typically seen with the casual baggy pants and sweatshirt he chooses to combine it with. However, the mixing of formal and casual wear can be seen as a counter-cultural fashion statement, as it goes against typical fashion standards. Furthermore, looking closely at his shoes, we see that he has attached a zip tie to his shoelaces. This is a common theme for Virgil, and can be seen in his latest footwear collaboration with Nike. The use of the zip tie (typically reserved for industrial use in holding cables or wires together), has been repurposed as a fashion statement. In this regard, Abloh emphasizes the counter-culture nature of street fashion by using a symbol that typically resides in a world far from the glamour of fashion.

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